“It’s Up To You” (Moody Blues Cover)

Originally posted 2008-01-08 21:34:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Hello everyone- tonight’s session is a Moody Blues song that’s always been a favorite of mine. I’ll be the first to admit that most of the Moodies songs aren’t exactly “rockers”, but when they do come out with one, it’s AWESOME. “Story In Your Eyes”, “Ride My Seesaw”, and “I’m Just A Singer in a Rock’n’Roll Band” come to mind as great songs with a rock sound and some amazing lead guitar playing by Justin Hayward.  I honestly believe that Justin Hayward is one of the most underrated rock guitarists out there.  The man can absolutely shred on the guitar and he plays it perfectly every time- even in concert.  Have you heard the beginning to “Question” on 12-string acoustic guitar?  Even playing that half-speed on acoustic guitar is difficult.  Hayward is the man, and that’s all there is to it.

The Moody Blues song I’ve chosen for tonight’s cover song music video, “It’s Up To You”, has a great guitar riff, classic Justin Hayward introspective lyrics, and just a great melody.  “It’s Up To You” my favorite song off of the “Question of Balance” album.  That album, to me, is a bit faster paced than any of the other “first seven” albums they did.  But, I think the songs aren’t nearly as good (as a whole) as the songs on albums like “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” and “To Our Children’s Children’s Children”.

One thing about Justin Hayward’s lead guitar playing I love is his double or even triple-tracking of the lead guitar.  It’s so unique.  George Harrison used to do it with his famous slide guitar solos.  But, Justin Hayward is a fan of more distortion on his guitar solos and riffs.  So, it’s a different sound.  Hayward triple-tracks the lead guitar for two reasons, in my opinion.  First, he wants to make the part sound more powerful.  You have to imagine that little thin high E string on a guitar.  Now, strum it with a piece of plastic.  It’s going to need a lot of power to cut through drums, bass, and a synthesizer.  So, triple-tracking the lead guitar (that’s recording it three times) is a great way to make it stand out from the rest of the sounds in the band.  Another reason why Hayward did it is the reason why I think it’s so cool: harmony!  He would take the lead guitar part and then play it three times.  Except, each time he’d play a different note of a chord.  Played all together, you get a great sound that’s full and unique.  I did that on some of my songs, too.  For instance, on “Give and Take” from my album “What About Today?”, I did a three-part lead solo.  Listen to that song online on my website at http://jimfusco.com.

I hoe you enjoy tonight’s Moody Blues cover song! Keep checking back for more music videos because we are determined not to miss a day in 2008! We’ll see how long it lasts, but let’s just say I’ve already got enough cover song videos for the next couple weeks!

“Little Sadie” (Bob Dylan Cover)

Originally posted 2008-03-29 00:52:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Okay, it’s time to separate the Dylan fans from the fanatics… If you’re familiar with this song, you’re probably in the latter category. For your pleasure (I hope), I decided to record “Little Sadie,” a very simple but fun song from Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait album. This is, of course, not to be confused with “In Search of Little Sadie,” the song two tracks earlier on the album with essentially the same lyrics but a different arrangement. Now, Dylan is known for never performing a song the same way twice, but he doesn’t usually record two different versions on the same album…

I know that Self Portrait is considered perhaps his weakest and most disappointing album (aside from Dylan, which wasn’t even released on CD!), but I’ve always loved the simple and soothing feel of the recordings. True, some are throw-aways, but I actually recorded my very first Laptop Session last year with “Living the Blues.” He does a couple great covers — Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Mornin’ Rain,” for instance. His cover of Paul Simon’s “The Boxer” is just about the only recording I’ve ever heard where he double-tracks his voice. If you listen carefully, it sounds like one voice is the gruff Dylan and one voice is the “Lay Lady Lay” Dylan. Interesting…

Without further ado, I really hope you enjoy this song and please rate and/or comment on it!

Check back tomorrow at http://LaptopSessions.com for another great all-new session from Jeff!

“The Red, White, and Blues” (by Indie Music Songwriter Jim Fusco)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to the Laptop Sessions’ Original Wednesday. I’m guessing some people will be new to the Laptop Sessions because of this original song video, and we welcome you aboard!

This song, a pun on the “Red, White, and Blue”, is my first and only “protest” type of song.

The song was written in early 2002 after 9/11 about the hypocritical actions of Americans automatically becoming “patriotic” as soon as a disaster hit. This original song is just me wondering why people weren’t just ALWAYS patriotic!

This song is still as relevant today, six years later, as it was when I wrote it. I even talk about Easter in the song (it was that time of year), and I thought this would be the perfect week to bust it out again.

Basically, I’m giving the point of view of an 18 year old kid (at the time) from Connecticut because all the hardship and fear seemed so distant from my everyday life at the time.

To say this song is still relevant today shows how stagnant the country’s been lately.  We still are fighting a never-ending war on terror and the patriotism of the country is waning once again.

Oh, and the verse about California: it’s in reference to when they didn’t have the Red-Carpet festivities for a big award show that year. I didn’t think that was helping anyone. Letting the terrorists know we’re scared? That’ll really help…

“The Red, White, and Blues” is from my double-album set, “That’s All…” that I released in 2003.  I say “double album” in a different way than you would normally think of it.  For instance, the Beatles came out with a double album with their “White Album” (simply titled, “The Beatles”) in 1968.  That album consisted of over 20 original songs and couldn’t fit on just one vinyl record.  For “That’s All…”, it’s a bit different.  You see, I had just gotten a guitar- my first real acoustic guitar, an Ibanez Artcore.  I instantly wanted to play everything on the acoustic guitar and quickly went to playing folk songs.  I even came up with a bunch of my own.  I thought a blues song like “The Red, White, and Blues” would be a perfect way to start off an album of folk songs.

But, I also had a bunch of original songs that I’d written in my normal rock’n’roll style, too.  So, I decided to record everything at once and split up the whole project into two original albums: “That’s All Folks”, which featured all of the folk songs I’d written, and “That’s All Jim” that featured all of my songwriting efforts in my normal style.  I put both albums on one CD, but each album had it’s own cover.  Plus, the combo-pack of both albums called “That’s All…” had it’s unique album cover!

I hope you all enjoy this original song music video. If you want to hear the original recorded version and buy the double-album online, you can go to my website: http://jimfusco.com/albums/thats_all.html

My New Amp…For More Than Acoustic Rock!

By Jim Fusco:

Hi folks, Jim here. I just made a big purchase, so I wanted to share it with everyone, especially because it will re-shape the way my guitar sounds.

I’m so excited to get my Fender Blues Junior amplifier!! It’s pretty small in size, no more than a foot and a half or so each way, but man, does it pack a punch. My old amp, a HUGE Fender one, was way too powerful for anything I used it for. I could never turn it up past 2.5 on the dial!

Plus, my old amp was a solid-state amp. With solid state amps, you need to add your own effects. For instance, I always like using an “overdrive effect” to get my distortion sound. I even bought a guitar pedal called the “Tube Screamer” to get the tone I wanted. A solid-state amp just means, you plug in your guitar and the sound comes out of the speakers. Simple. It reproduces whatever you put into it, just louder.

Fender Blues Junior Amp

But, the new amp is called a tube amp. This particular one is ALL TUBES because it has a tube pre-amp and tube driver.

What does that all mean?

Well, I’m new to this, too, but here’s my explanation. Think of the tubes as those old TV tubes people used to use. Actually, this is the SAME EXACT THING! Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Why would you want to go back to that old technology?” Well, there’s many resons:

  1. The tubes take time to “warm up” when you turn the amp on. This tells us that the sound from my guitar is going through the tubes for amplification, and thus “warming up” the sound. With a solid state amp, it goes directly to the speaker. Going through the tubes naturally processes the sound. Think of talking into a hollow tube. It makes your voice more “warm” sounding because it’s bouncing around in there.
  2. The tubes create a natural “compression” effect. This is really great for me because it makes individual notes sound as loud as when I play chords. So, I have better control over the volume of my solos when I’m playing rhythm guitar most of the time and a solo for 30 seconds!
  3. It’s real “overdrive”. All those guitar pedals I own (and it’s quite a few) try to emulate the sound of an overdriven amplifier. “Overdrive” means that you’re pushing too much sound through the tubes and the signal starts breaking up. It goes from “clean” to “dirty” sounding. With a tube amp, I can naturally overdrive my guitar to get the real sound out of it. It’s what makes some guitars cost more and others cost less. Since I have some really nice guitars, I’ll be looking forward to how they “really” sound when overdriven.
  4. It just sounds amazing. I plugged into this thing at the music store and I felt like a rock star. The notes seem to organically “grow” from the speakers, rather than just explode. It makes the chords sound better. It makes my playing sound better because you actually hear things like 7th chords. Plus, it makes things like those crazy back and forth solos possible, too.
  5. It’s a heck of a lot smaller, and therefore more portable. My old amp weighed more than Chris.
  6. It’s still got power. This new amp is only 15 watts of power. Doesn’t sound like much. My old amp is about 150 watts. Too much power! But, 5 watts of tube amp power are equal to 40 watts of solid-state amp power! So, really, we’re talking about an amp that’s got the equivalent of 120 watts here. But, I might just be able to turn this one up a bit and experiment with more sounds without waking the neighbors!

Hopefully this shows you how passionate I am about this purchase, and that I really do my homework when I’m getting something new. I’m so excited to take my guitar sound to the next level and you’ll LOVE it, too!! I’m going to be posting different articles on ALL of my equipment (guitars, etc) and I hope Jeff and Chris will, too. Now I gotta check my front porch when I get home…